HT Chandigarh Our Take: Lockdown lessons: Handle children with care
People manning Childline 1098 say the number of parents dialling up to discuss their children’s behavioural problems has increased during the lockdown.Updated: May 24, 2020 00:48 IST
Like so much else, the Covid-19 pandemic has also upended children’s lives, disrupting their schools and the rhythm of their off-school routine. Home bound, they now spend more time glued to smart phones and television screens, hardly getting any time for outdoor activities. All this adds up to stress and anxiety which can impinge on their mental health and well-being.
People manning Childline 1098, a service of the women and child development ministry, allowing people to phone in and seek help for children, say the number of parents dialling up to discuss their children’s behavioural problems has increased during the lockdown.
Sangeeta Jund, director, Childline 1098, had told Hindustan Times recently that two couples had called to say their children were “virtually out of their control”. While one couple and their child were being counselled, the other, parents of a 16-year-old girl, were firm in their decision to send her away as they said she kept running away from home, issued self-harm threats and refused to give up smoking.
The teen has, unfortunately, been moved to a home again.
The added stress of managing a household while being locked in, looking after children, performing chores, taking on additional anxieties about living in a world where a pandemic rages, where jobs are drying up and money disappearing fast, is taking its toll on adults.
The problem is also magnified when children are expected to start existing within confined spaces, days on end, with anxious adults trying to cope with a never-before-experienced scenario.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 12% to 13% schoolchildren in India have emotional, behavioural and learning problems. Understanding this and seeking help from a counsellor is one way out, but many parents are today mentally conditioned to sweep such issues under the carpet as society still stigmatises them.
In all scenarios, however, patience, perseverance and understanding can lead to peaceful coexistence of adults and children at home. Innovative methods and practices brought into play, quality time spent together as a family, exercising and being creative does not just help the child, but the adult as well.
It’s still unclear how long the Covid-lockdown will last, but one thing is clear: The changes are here to stay, with such future lockdowns a grim possibility.
Parents have their roles cut out. Helping children cope mentally and physically with such scenarios, getting them to expend energy, experience stillness and calm, joy and peace and keeping those brain cells ticking is what adults have to ensure. On them rests the onus of shaping young minds and bodies to take on the uncertain times now and in the future with confidence and positivity,
But the question is: Are they equipped to do it?
How should parents handle children’s behavioural problems?
What should parents do to equip children to handle the Covid-19 lockdown at home peacefully and productively, especially for those with behavioural/mental health problems? Send your responses to email@example.com by May 29.